The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Water Dept. repairs leaks after accident


October 13, 2017

Brandon L. Summers

Sidney Water Department repairs a water leak at 13th Avenue and Forrest Street on Oct. 6. A series of leaks erupted along Forrest Street after a runaway tow-truck struck a fire hydrant at 10th Avenue. A new valve is being added to the 10th Avenue hydrant with an automatic shut-off. Ed Sadler, city manger, lauded the crews' week-long efforts, saying, "They've done yeoman's work."

A tow-truck lost its brakes and struck a fire hydrant at 10th Avenue and Forrest Street on Oct. 6.

Sidney Water Department crews spent the cold, moist Friday repairing the hydrant and the series of leaks along the street that followed.

"The new (hydrants) are break-away," Ed Sadler, city manager, said. "They shut themselves off. They break at the top and there's a valve down below. This is one of the older ones, so when it broke (the truck) went over the top of it, it not only broke off the fire hydrant but it grabbed the pipe as the vehicle rolled over and pulled it."

The water department responded in the dark of morning.

"The first thing they did was straighten up the pipes and that helped relieve some of the pressure and all of a sudden it was only burbling up," Sadler said.

This leak, though, caused two others to form along Forrest Street on the same morning.

"It appears the second and third leak were already small leaks," Sadler said. "These both had leaks because there were rust spots and we think the change of pressure then just blew them out, from doing the work on them."

Such smaller leaks are common, Sadler said.

"You get those all over the place," he said. "An average city will lose about 20 percent of its water per year to small leaks. It's sort of normal business."

He added, "If you tried to chase every little leak, my god, we'd have the whole world dug up all the time."

As a result of the leaks, the north side neighborhood lost some of its water pressure for an extended period of time.

"It lasted pretty much all day, but they weren't ever without water, as such," Sadler said.

Work on repairing the leaks continued through Thursday, as the water department readied to install a new valve to better isolate the water there.

"Right now they've got about a five-block piece that that's as good as they can shut it off and isolate it," Sadler said Wednesday. "They're going have to put in a new valve so they can isolate a couple of blocks and not have to affect so many people."

Sadler applauded the efforts of the water department crews.

"They've done a yeoman's job," he said. "They had some of the newer kids working on that one, and it's hard when it's a new fix. That water's still running when you have to do the fix. The last one, they had a gas line and a storm sewer over the top of it."


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